2016 in Review

So naturally, with everything that pops into my head, I have an intense desire to do it all.  It took 12 months to teach me that while I believe my visions + dreams are God inspired, I don't have to do everything TODAY!  So it doesn't surprise me that my last post in this blog was in 2015!

2016 has brought a year of blessings and most definitely a year of refinement.  So here is my review...

What I did...

  • Booked in 15 Weddings: Wellington, Auckland and Fiji
  • Styled 8 events with Confetti Love
  • Went on holiday with my family to Fiji
  • Caught 16 flights
  • Reunited with family in Brisbane
  • Held my first stall at a Wedding Expo
  • Coordinated, styled + photographed a unique wedding event "Marry Me"
  • Read three books
  • Made some new friends: Personal + business
  • Witness my eldest work hard and achieve a goal she set for herself: Awarded the Academic Excellence award in her last year at Intermediate school.
  • Renewed + strengthened relationships and let go of others
  • Concerned myself with things that were out of my control
  • Started a Pacific Weddings Blog
  • Have more patience with more of those whom I allow to have the better of me

What I didn't do enough of...

  • Take care of my health
  • hugged my daughters with kindness + love rather than with obligation + awkwardness 
  • take care of my husband with grace rather than with truth (an "I told you so" look for his self inflicted late nights resulting in migraines)
  • Speak with tenderness towards my girls while teaching them life lessons than with a "I've already taught you that" tone
  • See others as God sees them; often broken, hurt + unaware
  • Accept that not EVERY IDEA is a GOD IDEA or even a RIGHT NOW IDEA but rather a LATER ON IDEA

Reflecting on these dids and did nots I believe I'm only at the brink of coming into the fullness of knowing myself.  Of how much I can do, and how much I don't have to do.  Towards the end of 2016, it dawned on me that I am entering into the last year of my 30s, and what an amazing time it has been.  A decade of weeding + planting.  We will be heading into our 15th year of truly a marriage founded on God.  A marriage of growing old with my best friend and learning so much more about ourselves and each other in our marriage.

Like so many others, I have written down so many new year's resolutions that turn into a long list of "I wills".  This year I have decided on only a few things I want to do better this year;

  1. See others as God sees them;
  2. Be great at the few (tasks), than half-pie at the many;
  3. Take care of my physical + spiritual wellbeing

And that's it.  As I grow older (and wiser, I hope), I'm finding that it is okay to do what I can and when I can, be absolutely great at it.

I hope that your 2017 will be GREAT TOO!!

Better Days

I write this on the back of returning home from our Christmas trip to Auckland.  And with this timely post, falls the eve of the New Year.  

Our trip away took me a few days to rest my mind from having been working since Labour weekend travelling around the country and abroad capturing some amazing moments and witnessing love in all shapes and sizes.  It has been full on and while at times I am found staring blankly, my mind is racing with all the projects and work I have to do that is yet to make it's way out and onto paper.  I left my camera home so to completely shut off during the holiday.  I attempted the first few days to edit but had to force myself to put my laptop away.  Then came the late nights and the over-eating.

I think, other than the company of family and friends we managed to catch up with, my highlight I think from the trip came on our last day.  I sat around the dining table with my parents sharing with them some concerns and some love.  I have come to learn that in these types of conversations,  my words need to begin with positivity then constructive criticism and followed by being open to suggestions of change.  When done carefully these conversations turn out much better than hoped for.  

I have also come to learn this year that I am continually left with the sense of complete gratitude for the life that I have, and the people that I live it with.  I am grateful for my parents.  FULL STOP.  They have taught me to realise even more so each day - forgiveness + acceptance.  I have always had a "voice" with my parents, which is probably why my brothers continue to turn to me to be the "spokesperson".  This is something I'm learning to do better at giving my daughters' a voice to share their concerns with me.

There were a few things that I wanted to do better this year and I feel I am definitely not in the same place I was last year - physically (not so good), mentally + spiritually (much better).  God has given me so much this year and that which I have prayed for.  I feel 2016 will be more about refining how I handle what I have been given.

We have great dreams and visions for 2016 and our prayer is that it is God's will for us.  We are excited to be venturing out into the unknown and hopeful for great opportunities for us and those around us.

I have decided that 2016 I will continue to do better by implement what I am calling my "5-FOLD INTENTIONS".  For at least 30 minutes each day, these intentions will help me to focus on what I will do to live a better + fuller life.

My 5-FOLD INTENTIONS are based on, what I have come to realise over the years, is important to me:

  • INTENTION 1: SPIRITUAL - Spend time to talk to God, read His word, share Jesus, have conversations about Faith
  • INTENTION 2: PHYSICAL - Do something active that will improve my health
  • INTENTION 3: MENTAL - Spend time to develop my mind, watch TED, read a book, connect with someone who inspires me
  • INTENTION 4: RELATIONAL - Catch up with an old friend, Check up on someone, Spend quality time with my girls and/or husband, be a better listener - quick to listen, slow to talk
  • INTENTION 5: PERSONAL - Appreciate myself.  Be adventurous, be creative!

I'm excited for the new journey ahead! And to share more about my journey on this blog.

Happy New Year everyone and I hope that 2016 will be better than this year!!!!

The Apology

Since posting "A Daughter's Advice"  I put it on myself to ensure that I apologise to my mum before I leave to return home.  I tell you, the period between the post and the apology was a battle in itself!  It was like dreading to tell someone bad news for fear of how they would react. Except the news I had to tell wasn't bad news, it was meant to be good!

I replayed over in my mind the conversations that I had and tried to recognise triggers for my behaviour.  What I came to realise is that over the years I had made excuses for my behaviour.  While I am grateful for the relationship I have with my parents to speak my mind of which they welcomed, I've realised that my approach has been more disrespectful than not.  My approach has been more about listening to speak rather than listening to hear.  Something my husband learnt when he read an article on communication that taught me a lot and how simple that was. Taking in that simple lesson and reflecting on many conversations over the years with my parents in particular the most recent incident I found that I do exactly that; I listen to speak and not listen to hear my mum's heart.

While it was hurtful to hear my girls' advice.  The reality is - the truth hurts.  But in accepting the truth, it can also bring you peace.  So I left my apology right to the very last minute when we were about to leave.  Leading up to this point, I had the apology played out in my head.  Many times I was tempted to chat with her but knowing my relationship with my mum, timing is everything.  So a last minute apology it was.  

I gave my mum a big hug and said "I'm sorry mum".

My mum hugged me hard, and laughed and said it was okay.  Now, to many that may not be an apology.  But in my family it is enough.  Everyone is different and every family is different.  The only ones that dwell on things in our family is my mum...and me.  Go figure! The females in our family.  But I hugged my mum a few more times and apologised.  It was important for me to do so, so that my girls could witness their mum making amends.  

Before the apology, I had to bring my girls' up to speed (the I'll-tell-you-what-it-was-like-growing-up-but-not-so-that-you-end-up-resenting-nana version) on my relationship with my mum.  They understood but it still didn't justify in their innocent eyes how I behaved.  I love my mum and as I grow older I realise how much of a compassionate heart she has for others.  Because of her compassion I see how much more I am the same.  I, of course, am my mother's daughter.

So the journey to refining my character continues and that journey always begins in the home.

My amazing parents - my dad Polu Aukusitino Poluleuligaga + my mum Puvava Poluleuligaga (nee Matautia-Fea-Salavea)

A Daughter's Advice

Driving around Auckland and being misled by Ms. GPS made a 46min drive, a 1hr 30min drive.  Well, it made time for some deep conversations with my girls.  

This past week they have spent time with my mum.  Love watching them joke around with her and playing cards with her.  Always playing cards.  An old time favourite that I'm grateful my girls share with my parents.  In that week they've spent time with her, they've also observed interactions between her and I.  Observations they shared with me on our long drive around Auckland.

To know me, is to know where I've come from.  You'll read about my relationship with my mum here "Insights of a Virtuous Woman".  I have an amazing relationship with my mum now and she has an amazing compassionate heart for others.  In saying that, the appreciation for my mum hasn't always been there.  So when we do get together, which are very few times now that she is retired and lives in the islands, the old ways of her daughter from our early days shows her face.

On our drive I asked my girls on their thoughts about my interactions with my mum and this is what they shared:

  • You start to talk loud as if to get attention, when you talk to Nana
  • Try to calm down before you talk to Nana about things
  • You don't talk to her like your her daughter, you talk to her like your her mother
  • You tell us not to do things, but you do it to Nana
  • Maybe show more respect
  • Have more patience with Nana

It wasn't easy to hear this from my girls (11yo + almost 9yo).  For a mother our role is to teach our children, right? But I tried to receive this with an open mind + peaceful heart and it was hard to do so feeling choked up.  I am grateful that my girls could share their thoughts with me and not hold anything back and for them to know in their hearts and minds that I would take it on board with the attitude to change.

Refinement is about refining my character, my person, my attitude, my way of living.  The process of refinement means to take on every and any experience as a learning.  This experience has been a huge and humbling learning, listening to my girls share how mummy has not been a good example to them and reassure me that everyone makes mistakes and we are not perfect.  

My hope is for many more opportunities of growth and refinement between my girls and I.The lesson in that for me is to not be ashamed of being a mother who makes mistakes but show my girls humility in my errors.


The word "Becoming" has been in my head over the weekend. 

Definition "Become" - to come, change or grow to be; to come into

I met with a creative friend for coffee in this cute wee cafe.  We meet, we laugh, we share....and we critique.  He shared some thoughts with me about one of my businesses, that had he shared with me a year or two ago, I would've gone home, sat in my room and contemplated giving up.  I am grateful to have a friend in the industry that is not afraid to share his thoughts with me and to care enough to share them with me.  So I received his feedback with an open mind while guarding my heart to take in what will build me up and not break me down.

It isn't easy to receive feedback that can easily settle in your heart and dwell in its dark corner to only come out when you need reminding of how ill-equipped you are.  But then....you can just as easily take such feedback on board as a perspective, new insight, making clear of what may have already been in your heart.  

So I chose this opportunity to take on board my creative friend's feedback as a "check-in" point.  Check-in points for me are exactly that, times in my life where I need to sit, reflect, evaluate, seek advice, re-evaluate and then act.  Check-ins allow me to check my priorities, check my actions, check my attitude and check my spirit.  When all of these don't align to the same purpose, then I have to let go of something.

Thinking about the word "becoming" over the weekend reminded me, that failure is part of the journey to success.  Failures, new directions, set-backs whatever you call it, they are all part of the refining process to giving your best in what you are called to do.  Some set-backs this year have most definitely had an effect on me, I won't lie, emotionally, physically and mentally.  I've had my moment to mourn silly mistakes, and have given time to reset-forward.  I am reminded that everything I am doing in life is a process of "becoming" who I am called to be, as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, leader, servant and friend.  I am coming into the woman I was made to be.  

My husband shared a great message over the weekend about "reflection" and being mindful of reflecting God even in the details.  That is my focus this week to work on the details.  I am a huge dreamer and my mind is always filled with new dreams and new ventures, so checking in on my details can often be overlooked.  They say "The devil is in the detail", my response is "and so is my God".

Colossians 3:23 "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people"



I had been thinking for some time to revive my personal blog.  In 2010, I was diagnosed with a spinal infection that would lead to paralysis from the waist down.  Thankfully, my doctor had prescribed antibiotics before I began to feel excruciating pain and it had begun to combat the infection.  This condition landed me in hospital for two weeks and off work for four months.  I wasn't the same even a year later and decided to take six months off work to fully recover.  You can find my personal blog here >> The Insights of a Virtuous Woman

I am now into my 20th month as a full-time business woman running three businesses: My Heart Follows Photography, Confetti Love Boutique and Ivy | Photography + Designs.  There have been many highs and equally many lows.  Many lessons learnt and I'm pretty sure many more to come. 

On my second anniversary (1 Oct 2015) as My Heart Follows Photography I'm going to be running a Photography Business workshop for starters or refiners.  So for those looking to start a photography business and for those already started but looking for some new direction or new insight.  They are my refiners.  Refining their business with new perspective and new learnings.

At the end of this month, I'll be speaking at a women's conference at Life City Church, Wainuiomata, Wellington.  The conference is called "She Is...".  I'm pretty excited to join the party as an Elective speaker and holding a workshop on being CREATIVE and what that means to me in my business and in my life and ultimately with God.

So what will people find in this new blog.  Definitely lessons learnt.  Ultimately this blog will help me to process what is going on and how I can refine my craft to bringing my clients quality work and work that is true to my heart and to my vision.  I will share exciting things that are going on in my life and in all areas of it.  Ultimately I'm writing this to inspire others as it re-inspires (that a word?) me in this life :) 

Contemplated on what to call this blog....and decided on "REFINEMENT".  

Definition:  the improvement or clarification of something by making small changes; cultured elegance in behaviour or manner

Living my life and refining it :)

If there is anything that you would like me to write about then comment below would love to hear from you.